Gozo History

First Inhabitants

It is believed that the first inhabitants of Gozo was Sicilian farmers around 5000 BC. Because Gozo is the closest of the Maltese Islands to it's neighbour Sicily, it was reached before the larger island of Malta and consequently the first of the Maltese Islands to be colonised. The first Gozitan farmers lived in caves in an area known now as Saint Lawrence.

Neolithic Period

Structures from the neolithic period on Gozo are still standing and can be visited today. Such as the The Xghra Stone Circle and the impressive Ggantija Temples, the Ġgantija temples were used for religious purposes and are oldest structure in the world. The temple was given the name "Ggantja" which is Maltese for "belonging to the giants". The name derives from a Gozitan legend which tells a tale of the temples being built by giants.


Gozo is also known as Calypso, Gozo tradition maintains that the island of Gozo was in fact the home of the nymph Calypso (on Ogygia Island), as taken from Homer.


The Ottomans under Turgut Reis and Sinan Pasha invaded Gozo in July 1551. Gozo was ransacked and the a majority (approx 5000) of Gozitans were enslaved. The Gozian slaves where taken to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya, via the port of Mġarr.

1565 - 1580

During the period of 1565 to 1580, Gozo Island was repopulated from the Island of Malta, this was controlled by the Knights of St. John who occupied Malta at the time.

Gozo governed by Malta

Gozo has since been governed by the larger Island of Malta, except between 28 October 1798 and 5 September 1800, when Gozo was given independence by Napoleon following his conquest of Malta.